I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic for Hot Wheels lately, so I feel like running down some of my favorite Hot Wheels toys in this edition of Retro Ramblings. Indulge me if you will.
There have been plenty of cool Hot Wheels toys that have come along in recent years, but my list is looking at Hot Wheels toys from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I’m not including any individual cars this time out, because I hope to do a deep dive on those in the near future.
Sto & Go Playsets
Hot Wheels made their own play sets for a while called Sto and Go. You can’t see it in this picture, but these things folded up and made their own carrying case, hence the name Sto and Go. They made several versions of this play set, but the city one was probably my favorite. There was one at my grandmother’s house, and it became the main street area from The Dukes of Hazzard as we played with the Ertl cars based on the show.. I had a lot of various construction-themed vehicles and the construction zone Sto and Go was a great addition to those cars.
Master Caster Car Maker
The Master Caster was such a cool idea. It was a Hot Wheels car factory, that allowed you to make your own Hot Wheels cars out of wax! You could get colored wax bars to use in it, or you could just take the paper off some crayons and dump them in. That gave you the ability to create some cars with really custom colors. There were several molds you could use, and it came with wheel and axle sets to use. It would heat the wax, and with a turn of the handle, you could pour the melted wax into the mold to make the car. It was quite the next-level toy for Hot Wheels-loving kids. I never actually owned it, but my brother did, so I got to make a few cars of my own.
Snake Mountain Challenge
As a lover of all things He-Man, this Hot Wheels playset was awesome! I got it for Christmas in 1986 and spent a while that Christmas day with my dad and brother trying to “escape” Snake Mountain. The playset itself was really cool, but the exclusive Masters of the Universe car that came with it took the cake.
Cars that change color will always be cooler than cars that don’t. These color racers were like getting two cars instead of one. All you had to do was dip them in some water, and they would completely change colors! It was such an awesome gimmick. The pack of cars on the left in the photo is one of the sets I had. They all changed really well, and the last time I pulled out the jeep last year, it still changed colors.
Before these Crack-Ups came along, I would create “crashed” cars by taking a hammer to them. The problem with that method was that there was no way to undo the damage when you were done playing. Then Crack-Ups came along and you could wreck the cars, and they would show damage. Then when you were done, you could easily undo the damage and have pristine-looking cars once again.
So there are five of my favorite Hot Wheels toys from when I was a kid. As I said at the top, I hope to get to talking about my favorite individual cars in the near future.
Ooh, I had some Crack-Ups (which inspired the Battle Armor figures from Masters of the Universe), and I think some of the color change sets?
But what I remember most is that I had the very Sto & Go Service Center pictured. Lots of fun with that, but it made a lousy carrying case, as the latches were too loose to hold it very well.
Yeah, those latches weren’t very well made at all. But the fun they provided was great.